​​​​How to Mine Bitcoin on Mac

Bitcoin (BTC) is currently the most valuable cryptocurrency on the market, and it has been since its creation back in 2009. Its market value makes it a very desirable cryptocurrency for mining, but mining Bitcoin is not as simple as it was at the beginning. Frankly, it’s an investment that requires money, time, and dedication. While mining Bitcoin can certainly be lucrative, your hardware setup definitely plays an integral part in whether you’ll be successful.

With that being said, if you’re a crypto enthusiast and also a Mac user, you may have been wondering if you can use your PC to mine Bitcoin. While it’s not the ideal mining setup, you can certainly mine Bitcoin with a Mac. 

So, in this article, we’ll talk about how to do it, how profitable it is, and what other altcoins you can mine on a Mac.

The Basics of Mining Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency mining refers to the process of creating new bitcoins in the blockchain that enter into circulation and checking and verifying each transaction made on the blockchain. 

Mining does all of the computational work required for the network to function and crypto miners are the people who do this work on their computers. In order to complete each incoming transaction and add it to the ledger, they have to solve complex mathematical puzzles. When the puzzle is solved, the transaction is complete and a new block can be added to the blockchain, and, consequently, the miner who solved the puzzle is awarded BTC. So, in a way, mining crypto is like earning coins without having to pay for them with fiat money.

Male hands installing CPU on hardware

Mining crypto requires heaps of computing power. When Bitcoin (BTC) was first created, you could mine with just a regular CPU-based (central processing unit) computer. But as mining became more profitable with time, more miners joined, which increased the need for faster and more effective mining hardware. After a while, GPUs (graphics processing units) started taking over. They were originally developed for gaming and content creation due to their fast processing capacity and this is what made them invaluable in mining.

However, the game changed completely when ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) were created solely for the purpose of mining. Currently, ASICs are the most powerful mining computers as their hash rates are incomparably faster than any GPU. But, the computing power they require is also off the charts. ASICs are also expensive and not all miners can invest in them, which is why many argue that ASICs are creating inequality in crypto, making mining on any other type of computer unprofitable in comparison. But of course, this can also depend on which cryptocurrency you’re mining.

Mining Bitcoin

When talking about cryptocurrencies, most people immediately think of Bitcoin, even though today there are nearly 2000 different cryptocurrencies on the market, which speaks volumes about its popularity. 

Bitcoin was designed with a fixed number of coins that can be mined, which is what it’s often referred to as digital gold. Its supply is literally limited, which justifies its price on the market. But the catch is that after every 210,000 blocks mined (which takes about four years), the mining reward is halved, which also slows down the rate at which new BTC are created until all 21 million are mined in the end (expected to happen around the year 2140). 

Therefore, you could say that mining Bitcoin is a pretty profitable business. However, mining isn’t just about making a profit, it’s what keeps the Bitcoin blockchain up and running because it’s what generates new BTC. Miners work very hard to add each transaction to the blockchain, which requires a big hashing power. In fact, it takes 2.7 Quadrillion hashes calculated to generate 1 BTC, and this can take either minutes or days depending on the hashing power of the miners. But can you achieve this with a Mac?

Is It Profitable to Mine Bitcoin on Mac?

As the original cryptocurrency, Bitcoin currently dominates the market, despite its volatility. Once upon a time, it was enough to use a regular computer to mine Bitcoins, but now, regular computers are just not enough. They cannot physically produce the required computing power for mining. The electricity required to keep your computer powered up 24/7 will basically eat up your wallet and the returns you’ll make in satoshis would hardly be enough to cover the humongous electricity bills you have to pay every month. 

Mac laptop with white screen isolated on gray background

To illustrate this better, if you were to mine Bitcoin on a Mac 24/7 for an entire month, you would hardly manage to mine 0.00001 BTC.

So, to answer this question simply, it’s not profitable enough to mine Bitcoin on a Mac. But, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try it. Not everyone can afford ASIC mining hardware right off the bat and start mining BTC like their life depended on it. Mining crypto is worth learning about and what better way to do that than with what you currently have?

The Drawbacks of Crypto Mining on Mac

Macs are great computers for doing many things, like intensive video editing, which requires some stamina, and they can even be used for gaming (but with some limitations, of course). Yet, mining crypto is a universe on its own that Macs simply weren’t built for. 

MacBook Air models, some of the most commonly used Macs, are hardly suitable for the exhaustive power required to mine Bitcoin because they’re equipped with a CPU that just does not have the speedy computing power that mining needs. MacBook Pro may be a more suitable alternative because it uses a GPU, which is faster than a CPU, but it’s still not sufficient compared to gaming computers, for example, which use stronger graphic cards.

Yet, mining Bitcoin on a Mac is still possible and highly doable. You just have to accept its limitations and understand that it can’t be a substitute for professional mining hardware. At least not anymore since the Bitcoin blockchain has grown considerably since its inception. So, just keep your expectations in check and have fun with it.

How to Mine Bitcoin on Mac

While using a Mac for professional mining is not exactly sustainable in the long run, it’s perfectly adequate to use if you want to start learning the ins and outs of mining (before you actually upgrade), or if you want to mine Bitcoin as a hobby.

Gold bitcoin on top of mac laptop on table

To start mining Bitcoin on a Mac, you’ll need:

  • An iOS computer
  • A stable internet connection
  • A Bitcoin wallet
  • Mining software compatible with iOS

Installing fan-cooling software is optional but recommended. Your PC might get too hot which can cause irreversible damage to the internal hardware and shorten its lifespan. Plus, it’ll control the constant fan noise. Macs Fan Control is the most commonly used one, but you can also use SpeedFan, which is free, smcFanControl, and TG Pro.

Create a BTC Wallet

Before you start mining BTC on your Mac, you need to create a Bitcoin wallet that’s compatible with iOS. Electrum is one of the oldest Bitcoin wallets for Mac, and it’s one of the most widely used ones. Ledger Nano S is a solid hardware wallet, and Exodus, Trezor, Jaxx, and Coinbase are also very good choices. Your Bitcoin wallet is where all your earned coins will be stored, which is why it’s crucial to store your private keys somewhere safe and make sure you don’t lose them. Some users like to transfer their mined coins to a different wallet after mining for increased security, so you can also do this if need be.

Consider Joining a Mining Pool 

Mining Bitcoin by yourself on your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro and making a significant profit is an impossible feat that will cost you a lot of time and money. Therefore, your best option would be to join a mining pool where the chances of acquiring BTC are higher than if you do it independently.

Hexagon cut wood with bitcoin icons connected with green lines

Mining pools are groups of miners who join forces working together to produce bigger hashing power, which increases the probability of successfully mining a new BTC. This makes the mining process easier for everyone, plus the block reward is divided among the pool members according to how much hashing power each member provides. Slush Pool and F2 Pool are currently two of the most popular and profitable BTC mining pools that you can join.

Choose a Bitcoin Mining Software

Your chosen Bitcoin mining software is just as important as the computer you’re using, so choosing one that’s compatible with your device will make it easier for you to mine. There are several mining software options available for an IOS, but the following are favourites among Mac users.

CGMiner

CGMiner is not only the most popular, but it’s also one of the oldest BTC mining software. Users like it for a reason – it has an open-source build, the interface is simple and easy to use, and you can control the settings from your keyboard. Most importantly, CGMiner is super versatile because it’s compatible with different types of mining hardware (ASIC, GPU, and FPGA) and it runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux. The one downside is that due to its command-line GUI, it may be too advanced for beginners and not engaging enough.

BFGMiner

BFGMiner supports FPGA and ASIC mining and it’s also compatible with Windows, OS X, and Linux. This mining software is more suitable for you if you have some mining experience under your belt because it’s highly customizable. Those who are only starting out might find it confusing and daunting, but once you learn how to work with it, you can adjust basically everything. 

BFGMiner homepage

The best thing about CGMiner is that you can mine multiple cryptocurrencies at the same time, so if you ever want to try something other than Bitcoin, you don’t have to download different software.

MultiMiner

MultiMiner is pretty good for beginners, so you can mine with it even if you have little coding experience. The software is designed in such a way to help the miner, with an easy-to-use GUI and a guide on how to connect to a mining pool. MultiMiner is so user-friendly that it goes so far as to automatically mine the cryptocurrency that’s the most profitable at that moment, or the one that’s the easiest to mine. 

It supports ASIC, FPGA, and GPU mining, but the one downside is that since it was originally developed for Windows, you’ll need different software to run it on Linux and OS X.

Is It More Profitable to Mine Ethereum and Other Altcoins on a Mac in Comparison to BTC?

Mining Bitcoin can be very profitable as Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency at the moment, in large part due to its limited supply. The competition for Bitcoin mining is off the charts, to say the least, and not to mention that it’s pretty expensive. ASIC mining is like a full-time job and it’s definitely not beginner-friendly.

Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that with the same effort, you could make more profit by mining a less competitive cryptocurrency, and one that doesn’t require an ASIC mining rig to be profitable. And lastly, if you’re set on being a Bitcoin holder, you can use the cryptocurrencies you’ve mined to buy BTC later.

For example, Monero (XMR) is also based on a Proof of Work mining algorithm. However, unlike Bitcoin, it actually doesn’t work better with ASICs – it performs much better on CPUs, making it so much more accessible on your Mac. Basically, you don’t need anything fancy, just your PC, a Monero wallet, and enthusiasm. 

Gold physical monero coins on white background

Ethereum (ETH) is the second most profitable currency after Bitcoin, and like Monero, it didn’t support ASIC mining until recently. Still, you can do GPU mining. Ethereum is unique because it supports the so-called smart contracts, which are self-executing programs that relieve the need for third-party authentication for a certain operation.

With that being said, you might be thinking that Litecoin (LTE) can also be mined on a Mac, but we’d advise you against it unless you use an ASIC-based mining rig. Litecoin is definitely not profitable with a regular CPU/GPU setup.

FAQ

How long does it take to mine 1 Bitcoin?

The speed of Bitcoin mining depends on the type of setup you’re using. On average, professional miners who use the most advanced mining hardware currently available can mine 1 BTC in approximately 10 minutes. At present, this is the record time a BTC can be mined. More realistically, though, it can take up to 30 days to mine a single BTC.

What’s the cost of Bitcoin mining?

Given that the competition for mining Bitcoin is so stiff and many miners use an ASIC mining rig, if you’d like your efforts to pay off, you’d have to invest in good hardware equipment. You should also take the electricity cost into consideration as well as any unforeseen costs for repairs to your setup because running a machine 24/7 will sometimes take a toll and the machine will need to be patched up here and there. 

Roughly, it could cost you up to $12,000, or sometimes more if the electricity in your area is expensive.

Can I mine Bitcoin on my iPhone?

While mining Bitcoin (and other altcoins) on an Android device is somewhat similar to mining on a computer, mining cryptocurrency on an iPhone is a little different. In June 2018, Apple announced that they banned mining crypto on iPhones and iPads. As per the updated developer guidelines published on their App Store, cryptocurrency mining is prohibited when executed from the device itself. The only way you can mine Bitcoin from an iPhone is by cloud-based mining, meaning using a mining app that performs its operations remotely. Wallets and crypto exchanges, on the other hand, are not prohibited for use.

What’s the easiest cryptocurrency to mine?

There are some cryptocurrencies that don’t require using an ASIC setup, which is great for beginners who want to try mining and see if they enjoy it. Currently, Monero (XMR) is probably the easiest cryptocurrency to mine for beginners because it supports both GPU and CPU mining. Monero is resistant to ASIC which means that all miners use consumer-friendly equipment, which also brings some equality to the competition.

Closing Thoughts

Mining Bitcoin is currently the most competitive job in the crypto realm, so kudos to you if you want to try it. Seeing as how much crypto has advanced ever since its creation, it’s certainly worth learning about how cryptocurrency works first-hand, and what better way to do it than mining? 

While using a laptop may not be profitable in the long run, by joining a mining pool you’ll make a better return of investment and your electricity bills won’t be that astronomic. Finally, if making a profit is your primary goal, you might find it more lucrative to mine a cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin.